Overheard on CNN.com: To release or not release images of bin Laden's body?
May 3rd, 2011
06:13 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: To release or not release images of bin Laden's body?

Photos of bin Laden’s body spark debate

As the White House deliberates on whether to make public pictures of Osama bin Laden's dead body, Americans are debating whether they should be.

CNN.com readers said the release could fuel more hatred from Osama bin Laden’s followers while others say that it’s only fair to release the photos considering the terrorist leader had such little regard for those he killed.

laxfan12983 said, “I for one would like to see the entire video. I have been given not a shred of proof that we even captured anyone. Sure a picture would be nice, but this idea that ‘it’s too graphic for the masses,’ if you don't like it don't watch it.” scratchee responded, “I can't believe that all this could go down without the President delivering a dossier of proof to laxfan12983. Next you'll tell me they didn't even tell you about the raid in advance.”

ford429 said, “Show the live feed of the kill shot, not some static photo of a corpse. I want to see him alive before they shot him. Otherwise it does not explain why they buried him at sea after only 10 hours when they had 14 more hours before the 24 hours was up.” tjaxxx said, “The conspiracy theories have reached an unbelievable high all over the world since Bin Laden's death was announced. The White House needs to release the photos, as graphic as they may be.”

JimfromTexas said, “Release the photos and the videos as well. No consideration or social value was given to our citizens and other citizens of the world on 9/11 as they lay dead and dying on TV and in the news print. No worry about how explicit that was!” SthPhilly said, “I've had to see videos and pictures of 9/11 and what Osama had done to our country, I think it's only fair that I get to see what we've done to him.” ddiamondd said, “I believe he's dead AND I want to see the pictures. I don't care who gets mad. If they get mad, chances are they hate us anyway.”

Dulcimer said, “Don't do it! Conspiracy/hoax theorists do not operate on logic and evidence. Do not offer any memorial to this guy.” snowbelle said, “Nothing to be gained by showing any dead person's photo. Why inflame anyone, why continue to make this entire scene more emotionally overheated?” Tetrapod said, “They have to consider the impact of such images in the Muslim world. Is it worth it to release pictures and video that may enrage Muslims and trigger violence, just for the meager reward of maybe convincing a few people that he's dead? It's not an easy choice.” But TheDopePope simply said, “We don't need this crap released. He's dead, it's done, moving on.”

Should we celebrate bin Laden’s death?

Less than an hour after Osama bin Laden’s death was announced, hundreds of Americans spontaneously celebrated in front of the U.S. Capital and at Ground Zero in New York City. The images of the celebrations were captured on television and in print for the world to see, but some religious leaders question whether death is ever something to celebrate.

Many CNN.com readers agreed with them (even those without religious affiliations) while others said they are still (unabashedly) celebrating.

Erika Sudz quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., ‎"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Peter F said, “Celebrating death? How is that morally right? As a Christian, I will celebrate when good triumphs over evil, when God's will is done, but that is totally different from celebrating someone's death.” David said, “I don't like the blatant (and somewhat pious) link between religion and moralism this article implies. As an atheist I find the celebration of anyone's death wrong. Did bin Laden deserve death for his actions? Absolutely! Should we celebrate his death like a bunch of 18th century cowboys at a public hanging? NO!” Artemisia said, “I am an atheist. I am a secular humanist. When I heard that Osama bin Laden was killed, my first reaction was sadness. Not sadness at his death, but sadness for his life and all the despair and destruction it fostered. Osama bin Laden could have done great things; he could have left this earth in better shape than he found it. He chose the opposite.”

GetReal said, “Let's face it – we're humans, not saints, so I say CHEER! If you want a moment of silence, take it for all the American and British troops who risked and lost their lives.” Ty quoted Proverbs 11:10, "When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting.” Joepa said, “I celebrate Bin Laden's death because it means no others will die by his hand.” j01 said, “Morally right? If it was up to me I would dance down 5th Ave with his head on a stick.” Guedde said, “I'm very happy that he was killed in the morning on Monday, May 2nd. This has been my best birthday present in a long time!” Jesse R said, “All I can remember are those poor people on that September morning throwing themselves off of the burning towers. It was awful that day and to finally, finally, kill the animal that was responsible for it is worthy of a celebration.”

Michelle defended the revelers, “The kids who celebrated assembled in a spontaneous manner and maybe they went a little overboard in hindsight, but I do NOT fault them for feeling joyous! This generation of kids has lived half their lives in fear of the boogeyman, Osama bin Laden. They were not old enough to be angry, but they were definitely old enough to be afraid. Leave them alone!”

How much did Pakistan know?

The last of a three-part series of posts by journalist Fareed Zakaria focused on whether Pakistan knew of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. In the post, Zakaria points out that Osama bin Laden was not killed in a remote cave in Waziristan, rather that he was living in a large compound near Pakistan’s capital which houses a prestigious Pakistani military academy. And, he says, “It is beyond belief that there could be a compound like bin Laden’s in that location without some elements of the Pakistani military knowing about it.”

So what did CNN.com readers think?

Weird said, “Yeah, it would seem pretty weird if Pakistani officials deny any knowledge of his compound sticking out like a sore thumb. It's too unusual not to notice.” Javier said, “The only thing Pakistan can say is ‘Yeah we were all over it. We co-operated fully with the US.’ What's the other alternative? ‘Yeah, sorry. We've been lying to you for the last 10 years?’” Rob in Atlanta said, “That such a compound could have been constructed five years ago and bin Laden moved in without drawing any attention? Impossible.” Adi said, “Quickest way to earn10 billion and remain relevant in world politics? Hide a 9/11 suspect and pretend to search [for] him!” SK said, “As one of the analysts on Indian TV put it, ‘Pakistan has been caught with its pants down...’”

But AA said, “Have you ever been to a developing country like Pakistan? These types of big houses are every where in big cities. The culture is different and people have high walls around the houses all the time (for privacy). That is very typical.” And Adnan said, “Cheers to all. Pakistan has lost [the] most lives than any other nation on earth due to [the] war on terrorism. Besides getting appreciated for its sacrifices and cooperation Pakistan only gets condemnation.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (822 Responses)
  1. sadie ripley

    Where is Bin Laden's Body?

    Why would they rid themselves of the body when the body in any gun shooting case is the evidence?
    Somethings not right and if people buy in to this, they are mentally weaker than was projected.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tulsa Tops

    The one thing that amazes me about this incident is the over abundant number of Monday Morning Quarterbacks that have surfaced suddenly. All of them have a better plan than the one used to neutralize Osama bin Laden. Where the hell were they the past 10 years when we were searching for him? Thanks to those who took the steps to implement a plan to rid the world of this pest. Those who were not there during the planning should shut up and quit criticizing those who didn't mind taking the risk. Enough said!!

    May 4, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Juan Juliao

    They should BUT they should post them on the HOMELANDSECURITY website, that way only people who want to see them can see them, those who don't and claim it's inapropriate can't comment otherwise why go ahead and look at them. I would even put a WARNING before you look at them. If legal, I would even require people to put there name, nationality, address etc if they want to see the picture, and comments, you might get some new terrorist leads.

    In the homelandsecurity website they even have a beheading, I don't think the pictures of Usama Bin Laden are more gruesom than that.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • DCJAFO

      I don't understand the difference whether they are release on the Homeland Security site, DoD site, State Depart., CIA, NRA, NGA, or even the White House website. Someone will always say they are fake or Photoshop'ed.

      May 4, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. yari

    No, I don't think it is necessary to release photos of his dead body. There doesn't seem to be any real denial of his death. Reportedly his wife identified him and his wives are acknowledging that he is dead. I commend the government for showing compassion by respecting his religious beliefs and "burying" the body withing the required 24 hours. There is no point in releasing pictures to satisfy someone's purile interests.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tulsa Tops

    Who cares whether Pakistan knew or didn't know. I wasn't a supporter of George Bush but Ihe earned my respect when he warned the world that we would go get terrorists wherever they were hiding. It seems that Pakistan should have heeded that warning at that time, along with every other country in the world. If they are harboring terrorists then we will cross borders to get them. Like it or not. Pakistan is an insignificant player in this incident. They can moan and groan, but they know they were in the wrong and should have expected the United States to keep its word. The message to terrorists is clear. You will be found. We will not go away.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. warmike

    i think that they should show the body, America wants to see the photos regardless of the reprucussions, did the white house forget the vids of our beloved troops? they have no remorse. We are human as much as we hate admit it, we want pictures. First, no release of an offical birth certificate? now this ? common obama what are ya hiding, your approval rating went up yeah but dont be selfish, your american people deserve closure, after 10 years and endless money spent, we want this. This is a violation of the freedom of information act. we the american people deserve this.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Elizabeth Weisleder

    I want absolute proof that Osama bin Laden has truly, finally been exterminated.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. slamdunk

    I don't really get the whole argument that showing photos will incite violence. Can the administration please explain that to me. We just KILLED Osama, and we think releasing a photo of his body is going to incite violence??? I makes no sense to me. Is there some Islamic law against that? Do you think the terrorist will care? They are the ones who know he is dead more than the american people. Although I think it's totally reasonable to believe the administration, why not shut the conspriacy types up right away with the evidence? No, lets wait until it become issue in the next election, because even though you did kill Osama, you leave the possiblity of doubt in the minds of americans. Why do that?

    May 4, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |

    I don't see a reason why photos should be released. No matter what photos are released, official, unofficial, or viral, someone will always say it's fake. Non believers/conspiracy theorist will always give some excuse that the photos were Photoshop, or the videos were staged no matter where the source comes from. But, think about this though, if the White House is bold enough to release a classified operation to the public and the hardliner Muslim extremist/ Al-Qaeda or its supporters are not disputing the claim, then there should be some truth that bin Laden is dead. If bin Laden is still alive, then we should see a video in the next few days from Al Jazeera, a favor media vehicle for Al-Qaeda to release its hearsay,or any Al-Qaeda supported media site. All in all, I think we should enjoy that this evil man is being judge by a higher power, and the tax payers are not paying for his trial.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. P Conner

    Why doesn't the US work thru the UN to make still photos available for viewing to any diplomats that desire verification. In this way the US has openly presented them to the world, but can still keep them out of the public domain if this is their desire.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. ivan

    For those who are ghoulish and morbid they would get some sick thrill, for the rest of us descent people. We have the proof and that’s sufficient. No good will come by showing these photos. DNA evidence is all that be required.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. Observer

    Even if they released it to satisfy the flat-earthers, they will still say it's faked. Releasing it will just inflame his supporters more.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Josh

    Give people the option to view through a 3rd party site. Just don't exploit it on every paper or through Nancy "glorify death" Grace. Yes, it will leak eventually but at least it's not being viewed through commercial broadcasting around the world.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. susie Cooper

    Go ahead and show the body. The morbid pictures of the Mafia killings were shown and same with the Mafia leaders shot dead. However, show them after 8 pm Central time because of unwatched children watching.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ed Asturias

    Regarding Osama Bin Laden pictures.

    Similar to an execution, a select group of 9-11 victims and journalists should be invited to view them with NO cameras or recording devices allowed.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • security

      it wont change anything, people would still say it wasn't real. Same as now, is taking peoples word for it, and people dont believe a government that lies all the time.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
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